Global Business Giants: Executive Summary
Google launched its Duplex, an artificial intelligence assistant that uses a phone to make a reservation and made an investment of $500,000 in Actua for the development of AI based education programs across Canada. By 2022 Microsoft aims to have 15,000 workers trained on AI skills. Amazon has invested in Unruly Studios and Zoobean to promote innovation in voice technologies. Recently, Tencent announced its new education brand called Tencent Education. Baidu restructured and shut down B2C to go to B2B. Alibaba's Megvii raises $750 million in its series D funding. Bytendance is planning to develop its smartphone.
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Google launched Duplex
Earlier this month, on the Web, Google launched its Duplex, an artificial intelligence assistant that uses a phone to make a reservation on one's behalf. The technology is available in 44 states. At the launch of Duplex on the Web, Google CEO, Mr. Sunder Pichai said that the technology would be majoring on movie ticketing and booking of cars. For instance, after one asking Google to rent a car for an upcoming trip, the AI assistant then provides all the required information on the website of a car rental company.
GOOGLE CONTINUES TO INVEST IN AI TALENT DEVELOPMENT
Google has also made an investment of $500,000 in Actua for the development of AI based education programs across Canada. Actua is one of the most extensive STEM outreach programs in Canada. In conjunction with AI experts, Actua will be working to develop an AI program that will provide students in Canada with the opportunity to "learn the basic building blocks of computer science and AI fundamentals." Actua will also be harmonizing AI lessons with several courses and classes.
MICROSOFT MAKES A BIG PLAY FOR DEVELOPING AI TALENT AS WELL
By 2022 Microsoft aims to have 15,000 workers trained on AI skills. Together with the General Assembly, the company is working to provide training and certification in several aspects of AI skills, thus providing a vast pool of AI personnel across the globe. The training covers several subjects, including data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. In the first year of the program, Microsoft aims to have about 2000 workers trained and equipped with skills in AI and machine learning.
Also, Microsoft is now part of the General Assembly’s new AI Standards Board. The board, in the next six months, will be defining the standards in AI skills and create credentials for the same. The board will also be developing assessments and design a framework for careers in AI. Microsoft intends to have the trained workers fill up available positions in Artificial Intelligence where Microsoft technology is used. The training will also create a talent pool where contract and long term employees will be sourced. In line with this idea, the General Assembly has connected its 22 campuses with Adecco, a renown job recruitment agency. Since AI has the potential of creating employment opportunities, Microsoft also aims to have 133 million jobs created by 2022.
AMAZON’S VOICE TECHNOLOGY FUND MAKES FURTHER EDUCATION INVESTMENTS
Amazon has invested in Unruly Studios and Zoobean to promote innovation in voice technologies, especially those that can integrate with Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant. Zoobean runs Beanstack, a software platform that enables librarians and tutors to manage reading challenges in learners and also use data-driven insights to study the participants' progress. Zoobean is, therefore, searching for different ways in which it can incorporate Alexa into its platform to help learners monitor their progress and even be reminding them of their reading time.
Unruly Studios, on the other hand, runs Unruly Spats, a program that enables children to engage in recess-style games. The company is also exploring for mechanisms in which it can integrate Alexa into the program to help children learn voice designs and the basics in programming while it makes the experience more engaging.
TENCENT announces its NEW EDUCATION BRAND
Recently, Tencent announced its new education brand called Tencent Education. The company that already serves about 70,000 educational institutes and 15,000 schools, aims to dominate the online education sector in China, which is already flourishing. At the annual ecosystem summit held by Tencent, Dowson Tong, the company's executive senior vice president announced that the program has 20 products that are available in all six business groups of the firm. The company also has about 300 million users in the education sector. With the new program in place, Tencent will then be engaging in more teamwork across different departments.
BAIDU RESTRUCTURED AND SHUT DOWN B2C TO GO B2B
According to Chinese media reports, earlier this year, the educational unit of Baidu, which is under the emerging business group (EBG), was dismantled. Chuanke, the company's online education service is also set to be closed soon. Zhang Yaqin, the president of Baidu who was also the head of EBG, has announced that he will relinquish his position in October this year. Zhang Gao, a former employee at Microsoft China, also moved to the search engine business of Baidu and would be reporting to the vice president. According to a statement made to Technode, with the current restructuring, Baidu aims to consolidate its resources and foster teamwork within the organization.
ALIBABA'S MEGVII RAISES $750 MILLION
Alibaba's Megvii, an artificial Intelligence startup that is known for its Face+++ brand, recently announced that in its series D funding, it raised $750 million. The participants in the funding include Commercial Bank of China, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Macquarie Group, Bank of China Investment Limited, and ICBC Asset Management. Megvii will be using the proceeds to profit from its services in AI. The proceeds from the funding will also be used in global expansion and recruitment.
BYTEDANCE MAKES A SMARTPHONE MOVED POTENTIAL TIED TO EDUCATION
According to the Financial Times, "Bytendance is planning to develop its smartphone." To explore business in education, in January, Bytendance acquired some workers from Smartisan, and it also confirmed that they had secured certain patents.